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Business_news Delta Air Lines will be the last US passenger airline to retire its MD-80 fleet in June. Take a look back at the all-American ‘Mad Dog’ jet.

Business_news

A Delta Air Lines McDonnell Douglas MD-88.

Carlos Yudica / Shutterstock.com


  • Delta Air Lines is advancing the retirement date of its McDonnell Douglas MD-80 series aircraft to June 2.
  • The Long Beach, California-built jets joined the Delta fleet in 1987 and also flew for Trans World Airlines, American Airlines, and Alaska Airlines. 
  • Delta is the last US passenger airline to operate the aircraft with American and Allegiant having retired theirs over the past two years.
  • Visit business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Delta Air Lines has given an early retirement date to its McDonnell Douglas MD-80 series aircraft as the carrier seeks to swiftly move forward witha fleet renewal plan amid the coronavirus pandemic

June 2 will be the last day that the iconic T-tailed aircraft produced in Long Beach, California will fly for a US passenger airline with the final MD-88 and MD-90 aircraft descending upon Delta’s Atlanta hub for the last time. For the MD-90, the final flight will arrive from Houston at 8: 58 a.m. while the final MD-88 will arrive from Washington, DC at 10 a.m.

After Flying Delta passengers one last time, the jets will head to Blytheville, Arkansas for retirement, 350 miles away from Delta’s headquarters in Atlanta. Replacing the aircraft will largely be Delta’s newest arrival,the Airbus A220.

The retirement plans put an end to a 33-year era of the iconic aircraft Flying for Delta. Dating back to the 1980s, Delta’s aging McDonnell Douglas fleet features some of the oldest aircraft still Flying for the airline, made by a manufacturer that no longer exists. 

Take a look back at the McDonnell Douglas MD-80 series.

Business_news The McDonnell Douglas MD-80 series was the successor to the smaller Douglas DC-9, with McDonnell Aircraft and Douglas Aircraft Company merging in 1967.

A McDonnell Douglas MD-80.

Getty Images


Source:New York Times

Business_news Its predecessor, the DC-9, was a tried and true short-haul aircraft with typical seating of fewer than 140 passengers.

A Douglas DC-9.

AP


Source:Delta Museum

Business_news The MD-80 expanded on the design and offered better range and a longer fuselage to seat more passengers, as well as improvements in the cockpit, avionics, and engines.

A McDonnell Douglas MD-80.

Getty


Source:Delta Museum

Business_news Powering the aircraft would be two rear-mounted Pratt & Whitney JT8D engines.

A Pratt & Whitney JT8D engine.

Bettmann/Getty


Source:Pratt & Whitney 

ride for those in the last few rows." id="mounting-the-engines-at-the-rear-of-the-aircraft-instead-of-under-the-wings-offered-a-quiet-cabin-for-those-seated-towards-the-front-but-a-noisy-ride-for-those-in-the-last-few-rows-5">

Business_news Mounting the engines at the rear of the aircraft instead of under the wings offered a quiet cabin for those seated towards the front but a noisy ride for those in the last few rows.

An American Airlines McDonnell Douglas MD-80.

John Gress/Reuters


Business_news The same engines were used on the Boeing 727, a tri-engine jet with a similar T-tail design.

A Delta Air Lines Boeing 727.

Reuters/Mike Segar


Business_news Airlines like Delta had opted for the MD-80 as a replacement to the 727 since the former was able to offer better economics with only two engines.

A Delta Air Lines McDonnell Douglas MD-80.

AP Photo/Chris O’Meara


Source:Delta Museum

Business_news The MD-80 series was built at McDonnell Douglas’ Long Beach, California facility on the grounds of Long Beach Airport.

McDonnell Douglas’ Long Beach facility.

AP Photo/John Hayes


Source:Boeing

Business_news It was the main production plant for the newly-combined company and produced the likes of the Douglas DC-10,

A McDonnell Douglas DC-10.

AP


Business_news McDonnell Douglas MD-11,

A Lufthansa Cargo MD-11

Ilya Naymushin/Reuters


Business_news And C-17 Globemaster III, the last plane to be built in Long Beach.

A C-17 Globemaster III on a flight line at Buckley Air Force Base in Colorado.

US Air Force/Airman 1st Class Michael D. Mathews


Business_news Production began in the late 1970s with the jet taking its first flight in October 1979.

McDonnell Douglas’ Long Beach facility.

AP Photo/John Hayes


Source:Boeing

Business_news Swissair took delivery of the first model one year later in 1980.

A Swissair McDonnell Douglas MD-80.

STR News/Reuters


Source:Boeing

Business_news American Airlines…

An American Airlines McDonnell Douglas MD-80.

Eduardo Munoz/Reuters


Business_news Alitalia…

An Alitalia MD-80.

Etienne DE MALGLAIVE/Gamma-Rapho/Getty


Business_news Volotea…

A Volotea McDonnell Douglas MD-80.

InsectWorld / Shutterstock.com


Business_news Alaska Airlines…

An Alaska Airlines McDonnell Douglas MD-80.

Reuters


Business_news Allegiant Air…

An Allegiant Air McDonnell Douglas MD-83.

Reuters


Business_news Avianca…

An Avianca McDonnell Douglas MD-80.

Ivan Cholakov/Shutterstock.com


Business_news And Spirit Airlines.

A Spirit Airlines McDonnell Douglas MD-80.

Ivan Cholakov / Shutterstock.com


Business_news Following the original MD-80, McDonnell Douglas kept the series going by introducing incremental variants, each with their own improvements but with the same overall design.

A McDonnell Douglas MD-80.

Chaiwat Subprasom/Reuters


flights." id="the-md-83-was-a-long-range-variant-with-additional-fuel-capacity-for-longer-flights-24">

Business_news The MD-83 was a long-range variant with additional fuel capacity for longer flights.

A McDonnell Douglas MD-83.

Reuters


Source:Airliners.net

Business_news The MD-87 had a shorter fuselage and offered greater range.

An Iberia McDonnell Douglas MD-87.

Photo by JOKER/Hady Khandani/ullstein bild via Getty


Source:Airliners.net

Business_news The MD-88, one of the two types being retired by Delta, had a more advanced cockpit.

A Delta Air Lines McDonnell Douglas MD-88.

Tami Chappell/Reuters


Source:Delta Museum

Business_news The MD-90 series then came in the 1990s offering greater fuel efficiency, new engines, and cockpit improvements.

A McDonnell Douglas MD-90.

AP Photo/John Hayes


Source:Delta Museum

Business_news Powering the MD-90 were two International Aero Engines V2500 engines, similarly rear-mounted as part of a T-tail configuration.

An International Aero Engines V2500 engine.

AP Photo/Kin Cheung


Source:Delta Museum

Business_news Delta Air Lines took the first delivery of the aircraft in 1995.

A Delta Air Lines McDonnell Douglas MD-90.

Mike Blake/Reuters


Source:Delta Museum

Business_news The MD-80 series also included rear air-stairs, a typical feature on larger T-tails like the DC-9 and 727.

A McDonnell Douglas MD-80.

AP Photo/Matt York


Business_news And they could seat around 150 passengers in a 2-3 configuration typically split between first/business class and economy.

Inside a McDonnell Douglas MD-80.

AP Photo/Matt York


Business_news The cockpit was also a favorite among pilots due to its quirks. For example, pilots would have to look through a mirror on the dashboard to check the compass which was located behind the co-pilot’s head.

A McDonnell Douglas MD-80 cockpit.

Sorbis / Shutterstock.com


Source:YouTube – Kent Wien

Business_news The jet also earned the nickname “Mad Dog.”

A Delta Air Lines McDonnell Douglas MD-88.

Tami Chappell/Reuters


Business_news American Airlines was one of the MD-80s largest operators, having nearly 400 at its high point. The airline received an influx of MD-80s, known as Super 80s at American, following a merger with TWA.

An American Airlines McDonnell Douglas MD-80.

John Gress/Reuters


Source:Planespotters.net

Flying regularly from its bases in Chicago and Dallas. Key routes included New York-Chicago and Chicago-Dallas." id="once-a-staple-of-americans-short-to-medium-haul-fleet-the-md-80-could-be-seeing-flying-regularly-from-its-bases-in-chicago-and-dallas-key-routes-included-new-york-chicago-and-chicago-dallas-35">

Business_news Once a staple of American’s short-to-medium haul fleet, the MD-80 could be seeing Flying regularly from its bases in Chicago and Dallas. Key routes included New York-Chicago and Chicago-Dallas.

An American Airlines McDonnell Douglas MD-80.

John Gress/Reuters


Business_news American Airlines retired its MD-80 fleet in September 2019, replacing it with the Boeing 737 and Boeing 737 Max.

An American Airlines Boeing 737 Max airplane.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images


Business_news A year earlier, ultra-low-cost carrier Allegiant Air retired its MD-80s.

An Allegiant Air MD-80 in Ogden, Utah.

Jim Urquhart/Reuters


Business_news Delta Air Lines then remained as the final MD-80 series operator with the MD-88 and MD-90.

A Delta Air Lines McDonnell Douglas MD-90.

Tami Chappell/Reuters


Flying their final flights to Atlanta, Georgia, and all arriving before midday." id="the-two-are-set-to-be-retired-from-deltas-fleet-on-june-2-flying-their-final-flights-to-atlanta-georgia-and-all-arriving-before-midday-39">

Business_news The two are set to be retired from Delta’s fleet on June 2, Flying their final flights to Atlanta, Georgia, and all arriving before midday.

A Delta Air Lines McDonnell Douglas MD-88.

Carlos Yudica / Shutterstock.com


Source:Delta Air Lines

Business_news The aircraft will then be sent to Blytheville, Arkansas for retirement, ending Delta’s 33-year history with the aircraft and leaving no scheduled US passenger airline to operate the jet.

A Delta Air Lines McDonnell Douglas MD-88.

Carlos Yudica / Shutterstock.com


Source:Delta Air Lines

Business_news The aircraft’s legacy lives on with the Boeing 717, which carried on the T-tail’s legacy after a merger between McDonnell Douglas and Boeing with a near-identical overall design.

A Delta Air Lines Boeing 717.

Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto/Getty


Business_news Delta similarly operates the 717, having acquired the fleet from AirTran, but is likely retiring that fleet soon as well.

An AirTran Airways Boeing 717.

AP


Business_news With most US and European airlines retiring the aircraft, the largest concentration remains in Asia and particularly, Iran.

An ATA Airlines McDonnell Douglas MD-80.

EvrenKalinbacak / Shutterstock.com


flights for the US Department of Homeland Security, will become the largest American operator of the series." id="world-atlantic-airways-a-us-charter-airline-that-also-operates-removal-flights-for-the-us-department-of-homeland-security-will-become-the-largest-american-operator-of-the-series-44">

Business_news World Atlantic Airways, a US charter airline that also operates removal flights for the US Department of Homeland Security, will become the largest American operator of the series.

A World Atlantic Airways McDonnell Douglas MD-80.

Lukas Wunderlich / Shutterstock.com


Source:The Aviation HeraldandPlanespotters.net

Business_news Though it outlasted its manufacturer, the MD-80 couldn’t last forever. Another iconic American airliner is retiring from American skies.

A McDonnell Douglas MD-80 aircraft.

aviation-images.com/Universal Images Group via Getty


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